FG, UNIDO to strengthen capacity of manufacturers, MSMEs

By Chinenye Offor

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said that the organisation would collaborate with the Federal Government to strengthen capacity of indigenous manufacturers and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Mr Jarl Hansstein, Chief Technical Advisor in UNIDO said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

He said that the Nigerian Government had initiated a project under the UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund, aimed at strengthening MSMEs to produce high quality PPEs.

He said that the fund is also to strengthen the manufacturers and MSMEs to produce healthcare products like clothing, facemasks, disposal surgical marks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other protective items.

According to him, “the project is implemented with the technical assistance of UNIDO in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organisation (ILO) amongst others.

He said that the objective of the project is to contribute to the increasing resilience of MSMEs in the country in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

Hansstein said that it was also to support the creation of employment, improve supply chains as well as promote transformative economic recovery and growth.

He said the project would maintain access to essential health services through socio-economic analytics, pro-active early recovery and social protection activities targeting vulnerable groups.

According to him, the expected outcome is to strengthen the capacity of selected local MSMEs and manufacturers which will include at least 30 per cent women and 20 per cent youth-led businesses.

The advisor added that this would also upgrade the production processes, adopt standards and technical regulations as reference for the production of high -quality PPEs and healthcare products

He said that the products were to meet local demand as well as for export to ECOWAS sub-region.

According to him, the project is fully relevant to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which contributes primarily to the achievement of some SDG targets.

He noted that the project was targeting more than 170 MSMEs including women and youth, national and ECOWAS Markets, users and consumers of PPEs as well as healthcare- related products

Others are Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Public and Private Associations amongst others.

Hansstein said that UNIDO would build on training to help the MSMEs formulate and implement concrete business plans in relation to the specific objectives to be achieved. (NAN)